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County Council

Posted on: January 25, 2023

Council Meeting Review: January 24, 2023

County Council News

This meeting included discussing island transportation, Section 8 Project-based Vouchers, and more.

This document is a review of the County Council meeting, Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Information related to agenda changes, Consent Agenda, and Public Comment are on the County website. View the meeting here. 

DISCUSSION: Review Away from Friday Harbor Meeting Places and Dates

The Council discussed the meeting calendar and voted to rearrange meeting locations in District Three to the following:  

  • Shaw Island on May 9, 2023 
  • Decatur Island on July 25, 2023  
  • Lopez Island on September 12, 2023  

The Council voted to accept the changes to the schedule for meetings away from Friday Harbor. 

DISCUSSION: Regional Transportation and Ferry Update 

The Councilmembers held a roundtable discussion about local, public transportation. This included updates about Washington State Ferries, local transit options, and the future of transportation options in the islands. 

The ferries are considered to be operating at a level of “restored service,” though the recent lack of sailings is often due to a lack of staffing and mechanical issues, reported Christine Minney.  

Across all major islands, Councilmembers discussed the use of shuttles, private taxis, bike rentals, and several charging stations for electric vehicles. 

Jane Fuller discussed interest from Lopez residents in a reservation system and terminal updates for the Washington State Ferries, as well as a desire for greener transportation options. 

Concluding the discussion, Jane was selected to lead additional island-wide transportation efforts.  

DISCUSSION/ACTION: Move to approve a Letter of Support for Section 8 Project Based Vouchers to the Housing Authority if Skagit County, Ryan Page. 

There are ten Section 8 vouchers that are allocated to San Juan County, but not currently being utilized by any eligible households as Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. The purpose of this letter is to indicate that San Juan County encourages the Housing Authority of Skagit County to initiate a process, in accordance with HUD policies, that would allow these vouchers to be used as Section 8 Project Based Vouchers. 

The County is currently aware of at least two projects currently under development in the County that would greatly benefit by the deployment of Section 8 Project Based Vouchers. The two projects are being developed by Housing Lopez on Lopez Island, and OPAL Community Land Trust on Orcas Island.

Council voted to approve a Letter of Support for Section 8 Project Based Vouchers to the Housing Authority if Skagit County.


Council Update: 

Council members reviewed legislative priorities as set forth by legislators in Olympia, local constituents, and more. Councilmember Christine Minney reviewed the following bills for Council on behalf of the WSAC LSC: 

  • HB 1181/SB 5203 - Adding a climate change element to the GMA
  • HB 1131/SB 5154 - Solid Waste-extended producer responsibility for product packaging and paper
  • HB 1261/SB 5380 - Clean energy siting
  • HB 1244 - regarding support for local schools/Bring the per student levy caps for all school districts in Washington state up to the same level as the Seattle School Districts.

Manager Update: Mike Thomas, County Manager 

The Council discussed two funding requests. The Preservation Trust asked the County to support their grant proposal, formally called the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Grant, or PSAR, for the Northshore Property Conservation Easement. The County is also submitting a grant request for Historic Courthouse Preservation funding.

Council voted to write and send a letter to 40th District Representatives to request that full funding be given to the two grant opportunities.  

Councilmember Minney: 

  • Attended two WSAC Legislative Steering Committee meetings over the course of two days in Olympia. 
  • Attended the gathering at Zylstra Preserve with Rep. Larsen
  • Attended Board of Health meeting 
  • Virtually attended the weekly WSAC legislative update hour
  • Met with Lincoln Borman and the Chair of the Land Bank Commission to evaluate applications and discuss the process for choosing new candidates to sit on the Land Bank Commission.

Councilmember Fuller: 

  • Met with County staff, elected officials, department heads, and the County Manager to continue the onboarding process
  • Attended first Ferry Advisory Committee meeting
  • Attended Agricultural Resources Committee meeting 
  • Attended the Board of Health meeting 
  • Met with Lopez and Shaw Island constituents 
  • Met with the Director of the Lopez Chamber 

Councilmember Wolf:

  • Provided written testimony for HB 
  • Attended a Foreign Relations webinar on nuclear detonations and radiological incident response
  • Attended gathering with Rep. Larsen at Zylstra Lake
  • Attended first Finance Committee meeting as Chair 
  • Attended first meeting with the SWISS Executive Board
  • Scheduled to testify to the WA State Leg House Appropriations Committee regarding HB1244 to lift the lid on school levies
  • Is looking forward to the Elected Officials Town Hall on Jan. 28 

Council Clerk Update:  Sally Rogers: 

  1. Agendas & Council Calendar Items 
  2. Advisory Committee Appointments/ Reappointments: To approve the appointment of Mr. Gary Franklin to Planning Commission, Position #8 for the remainder of the term ending 

The Council voted to approve Gary Franklin as Land Bank Commissioner.  

DISCUSSION: Field Visit – Operations Building at Beaverton Valley


The County Manager and the County Council toured the new operations building at Beaverton Valley Road. This building will be the new base for Public Works, Fleet Services, Environmental Stewardship, Information Technology, and other departments.  


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